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  • image M946

Cast of an Italian, 16th century, salver bearing the portrait of Carlo I Gonzaga

Date of the production of this cast.

Plaster cast with a greyish paint layer; set into a mahogany box frame [at an unknown date: appears framed and in its current location in Soane, Description... , 1835, plate XXVIII].

Inscription: CAROLUS I D.G. DUX [illegible; around the central portrait]

Museum number: M946

Curatorial note

Cast of the inside of a salver with two concentric rings of reliefs. The outer ring may show the Triumph of Neptune and Amphitrite (see V&A 1871.-40 entry register) and shows featuring Nereids and Tritons riding sea-creatures, including a sea-bull, and frolicking in the waves. In the inner circle are four reclining river Gods, each within a plain oval frame surrounded by ornament including masks. The rim is decorated with ornament and masks. In the centre is a medal of Carlo I Gonzaga, the ruler of Mantova (1627-1637) with a partially illegible iniscripton. This central element [Zahle, p.273] seems to be a 4-doppie coin of Carlo I, 1627, with the inscription CAROLUS · I · D[ei] · G[ratia] · DUX · M[antuae]. · E[t] · M[on] · F[errato]. The inscription on the electrotype copies of this salver is much more legible than on this cast.

Zahle notes a number of other casts from the same original in other collections (in Copenhagen and Stockholm for example) and the existence of electrotypes made by Elkington and Co. in the late 19th century. One of these, in the Museum of Applied Arts of the St Petersburg Academy (Stieglitz Academy) is illustrated in his volume (Zahle, p.273). The Elkington's electrotype in the Victoria and Albert Museum (inv. no.1871.-40) was acquired from Elkingtons in 1871: the entry register notes that the 'original' was 'attributed to Ascanio, the pupil of Cellini and was in the collection of Prince Torlonia'. Zahle concludes that Elkingtons did not have access to the original when they made their metal copies; the lack of crispness indicating that they were taken from a plaster cast of the original.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Acquired by Soane from the architect Lewis Wyatt, 1834.


Jan Zahle, Thorwaldsen: Collector of Plaster Casts from Antiquity and the Early Modern Period, Thorwaldsen's Museum and Aarhus University Press, 2020, Vol. II, pp.272-273 cat. G107
Peter Thornton and Helen Dorey, A Miscellanry of objects from Sir John Soane's Museum, 1992, 75.

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk